Crystal meth addiction treatment

Crystal meth is synthetic, meaning it is made in illegal labs and often cut with other materials. It is considered purer than other versions of meth. Although you can never be entirely sure exactly what is in it, you can be pretty certain that it is not simply methamphetamine.

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that as many as 103,000 Americans sought treatment at an emergency department (ED) in 2011 for methamphetamine-related incidents, making meth the fourth most mentioned illicit drug in ED visits that year, as published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).


About crystal meth

Crystal MethCrystal meth is a crystallized version of n-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine or methamphetamine, called “meth” for short. Crystal meth is generally smoked in a glass pipe, although it may also be snorted, dissolved and injected, swallowed, or sometimes even inserted into the urethra or anus. Street names include “ice,” “Tina,” or “glass.” The drug looks like blue or white shiny rocks or pieces of glass.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Stimulant drugs are popular illicit recreational substances, giving users a burst of energy, focus, increased concentration, libido, and sexual pleasure as well as inducing rapid weight loss and producing a euphoric rush. Methamphetamine is a stimulant popular for its long-lasting high and its ability to temporarily stave off depression. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 595,000 Americans over the age of 12 abused methamphetamine in the month before the 2013 survey. Methamphetamine is also highly addictive and creates a host of dangerous side effects.

Crystal meth is considered highly addictive, creating both a physical and psychological dependence that may require specialized treatment in order to recover safely and avoid relapse. Methamphetamine floods your system with “happy” cells and blocks them from being reabsorbed, which is what creates the intense sensations associated with its addiction. With regular use, the brain becomes accustomed to this chemical interaction and starts to depend on it in order to function in ways it now perceives as “normal.” This can create a tolerance to the drug, so in order to produce the same effects, the user will need to take higher doses or more crystal meth more frequently.

The brain will then struggle to recover a balance as the drug leaves the bloodstream, resulting in pretty low “lows.” This drastic emotional swing can cause users to want to take more meth in order to even things out, leading quickly to addiction. One of the symptoms of addiction is the manifestation of withdrawal when the drug is removed or leaves the bloodstream.

Crystal meth withdrawal generally has several phases. The first phase usually lasts one to three days wherein the body simply shuts down, causing long periods of sleep and general lifelessness. The next two days to two weeks may include both a physical and mental deterioration, including exhaustion, extreme hunger, and dehydration. Depression, fatigue, and a loss of energy may increase in intensity and last several weeks or even months. Anhedonia is common during this phase, which is the inability to feel pleasure, brought on by the decrease in dopamine receptors damaged by chronic meth abuse. This may lead to intense drug cravings as meth spikes dopamine levels and can provide temporary relief to this sensation. Suicide risk is high during crystal meth withdrawal, and without proper treatment, relapse is also common.

Crystal meth stimulates dopamine and serotonin production in the brain, which are responsible for pleasure, mood, energy, and emotional regulation. The “highs” are usually very high, and users experience bouts of energy, excitement, talkativeness, and alertness as well as decreases in sleepiness and appetite levels. Crystal meth can make you feel invincible and raise self-confidence to dangerous levels, which may lead to potentially risky behaviors or accidents. The increase in libido created by crystal meth use may make it popular as a club drug and heighten the odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviors. Other short-term psychological effects of crystal meth addiction may vary widely and can include:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions of Grandeur
  • Excitement
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Sociability

Meth can also stimulate certain physical functions and induce random, repetitive, and compulsive actions, such as skin picking or twitching. Stimulant drugs increase heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can cause an irregular heart rate and excessive sweating. Other potential short-term side physical effects of crystal meth use include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Dry or Itchy Skin
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors

Crystal meth has a long half-life, meaning that it stays in your system for a prolonged amount of time and the effects of the drug may linger longer than intended or desired, making it difficult to sleep or eat. The crash from crystal meth may also be difficult, causing the opposite of the perceived pleasant effects and may include bouts of depression and suicidal behavior.

Chronic use of crystal meth can add to the potential risks and side effects. One of the most obvious physical indicators of chronic meth abuse may be “meth mouth,” which is when regular meth users begin to lose their teeth. This may be due to the lack of oral hygiene performed during the particularly long euphoric periods, the detrimental effects of meth itself on teeth, the fact that meth dries up saliva which protects teeth and induces cravings for damaging sugary drinks, or the way that meth users often grind their teeth when using. Regardless of the reason for the loss of teeth due to crystal meth abuse, it can be damaging to self-esteem, create feelings of shame, and produce a negative self-image.

Regular users of crystal meth may also develop skin sores from compulsive itching or picking that may get infected. Other long-term side effects of abusing crystal meth may include:

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Auditory Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Heart Infections
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Increased Infectious Disease Risk
  • Increased Stroke Risk
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney Damage
  • Liver Damage
  • Lung Disease
  • Mood Swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal or Homicidal Thoughts or Behaviors
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Violent Episodes and Increased Aggression
  • Weakened Immune System

One of the dangers of crystal meth addiction is the effect the lack of sleep can have on the brain and body. Crystal meth keeps the user awake, sometimes for days at a time, which can cause “tweaking,” or irritable and irrational behavior that may be unpredictable and potentially violent.

Crystal meth makes chemical changes in the brain related to emotional regulation and motivation, and long-term methamphetamine abuse may permanently damage these brain cells and regions of the brain.

Chronic meth use can cause permanent brain damage, affecting cognition, memory, motor function, the ability to process new information, and other negative effects on learning, as published in Neuropsychology Review. According to a study published in Science Daily and initiated by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), meth addiction may also increase the risks for developing Parkinson’s disease by 76 percent in those who use it regularly.

Spotting the signs of crystal meth addiction

The signs of Crystal Meth use, abuse and addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bad Breath
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry Mouth
  • Elevated Body Temperature
  • Euphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heavy Sweating
  • Heightened Physical Activity
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Breathing Rate
  • Irritability
  • Jaw Clenching
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea
  • Paranoia
  • Performing Repetitive, Seemingly Meaningless Tasks
  • Seizures
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tremors
  • Unpredictable or Violent Behavior

Getting a loved one into rehab

Once you’ve come to the realization that a family member, friend or loved one is addicted to Crystal Meth, the next step is clear: assist them in getting help. Persuading a loved one to seek treatment for Crystal Meth addiction is not an easy thing. Crystal Meth is a powerful drug that is highly effective at taking control of its abusers, rewiring thought processes that seem straightforward to those around them.

It’s far easier for an addict to say “no” than it is to contemplate going without the Meth that they’ve become dependent upon. For this reason, interventions are often employed. Interventions aren’t the only solution, however. In many cases an addicted and a loved one reach the same conclusion – that rehabilitation is the right course. If the addict isn’t in an immediate life-threatening situation, contacting a qualified drug rehab center can start the healing process.

Treatment and therapy options

The negative chemical and molecular changes to the brain made by crystal meth can be reversed after prolonged periods of abstinence of at least a year, per Medical News Today. During this time, psychological support and encouragement are vital. Behavioral therapies are the most effective treatments for crystal meth addiction, according to NIDA. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy, which discourages self-harming behaviors by reversing negative behaviors and thoughts into more positive ones and boosting self-esteem. Depression can be managed through individual counseling and therapy sessions. Contingency management methods also show positive results during methamphetamine addiction treatment, offering real and tangible rewards as motivation for remaining in treatment and drug-free.

The Recovery Village provides a full continuum of care with differing levels of care, depending on your individual circumstances. Physical stabilization may be an important first step, which can be accomplished in The Recovery Village’s inpatient detox center under direct medical care and supervision in a safe, private, and soothing environment. Highly trained and compassionate staff members lead group, individual, and family counseling and therapy sessions. Educational opportunities are also provided in order to help you understand the treatment process and know what to expect during recovery.

Weight gain is common during the early stages of crystal meth recovery as the body rushes to restore metabolic balance that may have been disrupted by regular use of a stimulant drug. The Recovery Village provides multiple holistic restorative opportunities during treatment, such as helping clients to establish a healthy fitness plan and nutritious diet as well as the chance to learn meditation and yoga techniques or participate in equine-assisted therapy.

Getting crystal meth addiction treatment

Crystal Meth addiction is serious. Far too many succumb to its powerful grip, but it doesn’t have to be so. No matter how dire a Crystal Meth addict’s situation is, there is the potential for a far better life. At The Recovery Village our goal is to be the conduit to that better life. We offer a full range of treatment programs and are here help whether you are seeking treatment for yourself or for someone you care for. We are ready to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment was last modified: December 2nd, 2016 by The Recovery Village